Culture, Religion

But is it a sukkah?

Well, I have a hard time figuring out how they could meet the requirements (for some of them anyway), but really, who cares? It’s not like I could afford any of them anyway, or even find a place to put them. And they’re lovely.
blo-puff sukkah
Enjoy the Jewish equivalent of a unicorn chaser, here.

So, too, is a thicket of rules. The Talmud demands that a sukkah have at least two and a half walls, a roof that allows indwellers to see the stars and feel the rain but nevertheless stay mostly in the shade. The roof must be made of uprooted organic material—twigs or fronds, say—but no food or utensils (no chopstick thatching allowed). Mystifyingly, the rabbis of yore explicitly permitted the carcass of an elephant to be used as one of the walls. (No contestants took advantage of that option, sensing perhaps that the Department of Buildings or peta might not concur.) Neither the DOB nor the Parks Department had a problem with Kyle May and Scott Abrahams’s proposal for a cedar trunk supported on glass walls. The competition’s rabbinic consultant worried that the log might be too solid, though, and required that it be perforated.
The best entries play on a childlike desire to duck inside a mini-structure in search of fantasy. The most alluringly over-the-top, Blo Puff, by the Brooklyn-based team called Bittertang, looks like some soft, curvaceous organism that encloses a walk-in pouch saturated with the smell of eucalyptus. The most theatrically intricate and least hutlike finalist is Repetition Meets Difference, by the German architect Matthias Karch. In this multilayered helix, lengths of wood are knotted together in a system of joinery that can make any structure infinitely extendable. As a secular urban pavilion it would be an ornament, but it is also a showy riff on a holiday about humility, a tour de force of engineering where none is needed.

Vote on your favorite here

One thought on “But is it a sukkah?

  1. sukkah city has its very own rabbinic advisor, my dear friend dani passow, a rabbinical student from yeshivat chovevei torah. dani has made sure each of the winning sukkahs is kosher.

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